Florida Tech Furthering Infrasonic Research

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Two Florida Tech researchers have received federal grants for research that may help troops more safely navigate the battlefield.

Adrian Peter and Anthony Smith of Florida Tech’s Information Characterization & Exploitation Lab in the Department of Computer Engineering and Sciences recently won a total of $1.1 million in two grants from the federal Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL).

The $600,000 DIA grant, titled “Tactical Infrasound and Seismic Event Classification,” is related to the agency’s exploration of novel Measurement and Signatures Intelligence (MASINT) analysis techniques capable of characterizing the battlefield environment and revealing threats to friendly forces. In the project, Peter, the primary investigator, and co-PI Smith aim to investigate the use of infrasonic and seismic signatures for identifying sources of interest at tactical range — several kilometers to a few hundred kilometers in distance.

In a battle, the technology could detect what type of vehicle is approaching, providing a valuable threat assessment tool for the military.

“If we could identify something such as the kind of helicopter out there, based on the infrasound signal we’ve received from far away, then we would have an early warning indicator for the troops,” Peter said.

The $506,806 grant titled “Infrasonic Cyber-Physical MASINT for environmental Characteristics and Classification,” is part of the AFRL’s Office of Air Force Material Command requirement to research innovative, disruptive technologies and methods in Measurement and Signatures Intelligence Exploitation (MASINT-X). This project, with Smith as primary investigator and Peter as co-PI, will develop new feature extraction and machine-learning techniques for classifying infrasonic data collected via mobile platforms (e.g. iOS or Android devices).

“Your mobile phone can also listen for infrasound signals, so we’re seeing if we do the same thing as other technology; if we can discriminate what kind of objects are actually causing these infrasound signatures based on the signals captured on our phone,” Smith said.

The projects are supported by Computer Engineering and Sciences graduate students Kaylen Bryan and Mitchell Solomon, who are pursuing their Ph.Ds. under the supervision of Peter and Smith.

Peter and Smith’s grants are also part of the surging infrasound work being done at Florida Tech. The Florida Tech Infrasound Array located behind the university’s Rivers Edge facility in Palm Bay is one of the few arrays owned by a college. Partnering with the Air Force Technical Applications Center (AFTAC), the array will constantly listen for low frequency signals below 20 hertz around the area, allowing for further research.

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I write about research at Florida Tech. For any inquiries, contact me at 321-674-8937 or rrandall@fit.edu.

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